The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition

The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition Ambitious and elegant this book builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology Michael Tomasello is one of the very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive c

  • Title: The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition
  • Author: Michael Tomasello
  • ISBN: 9780674005822
  • Page: 345
  • Format: Paperback
  • Ambitious and elegant, this book builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology Michael Tomasello is one of the very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive capacities of both nonhuman primates and human children The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition identifies what the differences are, and suggests where they might have come fAmbitious and elegant, this book builds a bridge between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology Michael Tomasello is one of the very few people to have done systematic research on the cognitive capacities of both nonhuman primates and human children The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition identifies what the differences are, and suggests where they might have come from.Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol based culture, and the kind of psychological development that takes place within it, are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities that emerge early in human ontogeny These include capacities for sharing attention with other persons for understanding that others have intentions of their own and for imitating, not just what someone else does, but what someone else has intended to do In his discussions of language, symbolic representation, and cognitive development, Tomasello describes with authority and ingenuity the ratchet effect of these capacities working over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops He also proposes a novel hypothesis, based on processes of social cognition and cultural evolution, about what makes the cognitive representations of humans different from those of other primates.Lucid, erudite, and passionate, The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition will be essential reading for developmental psychology, animal behavior, and cultural psychology.

    One thought on “The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition”

    1. I am torn on this one. It is well written and includes great examples and research. I just don't buy the main hypothesis. Basically it goes something like this. Humans do in fact have posses attributes that distinguish them from animals and most modern scientists agree that the "something" is cultural evolution which allows human culture to evolve at a dizzying rate compared to biological evolution. Natural selection is very slow and works on a time scale of millions of years. Cultural evolution [...]

    2. Deux millions d'années se sont écoulées depuis la séparation de la lignehomoet du dernier ancêtre commun avec les chimpanzés actuels. Au cours de la même la période, les représentants de cette ligne ne démontrent aucune transformation de mode de vie notable par rapport à la donne primitive commune. Les changements observables dans les relevés archéologiques sont condensés dans 250 000 ans, période trop brève pour que les transformations majeures aient suivi ou résulté d'autant [...]

    3. هذا بلا شك واحد من أفضل الكتب الأنثروبولوجية التى قرأتها حتى الآن إن لم يكن الأفضل .الكتاب يحاول الكشف عن الجذور الثقافية للمعرفة البشرية وعن مصادر التطور الثقافى والمعرفى والاجتماعى للنوع الإنسانى وعن أصول القدرات البشرية فى مجال الثقافة القائمة على اللغة والتمثيل الرمزى [...]

    4. Tomasello's position is important because of the amount of criticism that it seems to be garnering in contemporary cognitive psychology and philosophy. There are a lot of important reasons for this: specious interpretation of data, dismissiveness of primate theories, a heavy emphasis on "theory of mind"-type approaches to understanding social cognition. The problem is that these problems do seem to be deeply important to the arguments that Tomasello is making about developmental psychology.I thi [...]

    5. This is an excellently-written and fascinating book about the three different dimensions of human cognitive development (evolutionary, historical, and ontogenetic) and how human culture has provided the necessary environment for human cognition. Tomasello, a renowned researcher of both non-human primates as well as human infants, makes the case that the old debates about nature/nurture, genes/environment, and innate/learned are too simplistic for understanding how modern adult humans have actual [...]

    6. It is a bit hard to be critical about this book. The author does a brilliant job at proposing and defending a mechanism that may be behind the advances of human cognition. He is arguing that transmission of knowledge and our ability to reflect and build on that knowledge has given rise to the sustained progress of our species. The evidence that he is providing in this respect is very critical and intriguing (e.g. that apes emulate actions and do not imitate, that humans are able to represent oth [...]

    7. This argument counters the notion that most of humanity's unique learning capacities are genetically encoded but rather that there was likely one biological development regarding our enhanced sociability compared to other primates and that this used in conjunction with skills belonging across the animal kingdom results in our cognitive potential. I think the basic notion is right and that the modular theorists (Chomsky et all) are looking down a blind ally; Tomasello underestimated the abilities [...]

    8. Michael Tomasello is referred to extensively in the New York Times article We May Be Born With an Urge to Help, although his more recent Why We Cooperate seems a closer match to the focus of that article.

    9. A concise, well-constructed, and accessible account of human cognition in evolutionary and developmental perspectives. This was, for me, the first and most powerful introduction to Developmental Systems Theory as a framework for integrating research and analysis in the social and natural sciences.

    10. so repetitive. he could have written a much shorter book. it's a different idea on human cognition in spite of many flawes and debatable points and it's very easy to read, not mention full of examples and references.

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